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Patience and Steadfastness

[Translator’s Note: All references to verses of the Holy Qur’an are given in Arabic as they occur in the text. The English translation, presented in Italics, is taken from the translation of the Holy Qur’an by Hadhrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib ( r a ). Where the Promised Messiah( a s ) has himself stated a certain interpretation of the Arabic verse, this is incorporated in the main body of the text]. Compiled and translated by Amatul Hadi Ahmad All the Prophets faced difficulties and experienced great tribulation – none has been without it. That is why there are great rewards for the people who bear all ordeals and afflictions with patience. In the Holy Qur’an God addresses the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) stating that he should give glad tidings to those who are patient and to those who, when faced with an ordeal, say that there was a time when we did not exist – God created us and we are his trust and to 30 Review of Religions – June 2002 Patience and Steadfastness Presented below is a compilation, in translation, of excerpts taken from two volumes of Malfoozat which is the title of the ten volumes containing the collection of discourses, speeches and addresses of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Him is the final return. There are glad tidings, indeed for such people. Through their [patience in the face of ordeals] they attain many blessings. One does not become deserving of the special tidings given by God simply through observing prayers, fasting and the pay- ment of Zakat. If prayers are offered with all the relevant requirements – that is an excellent thing but the direct aim towards God [through various trials] hits the target and is the best [means of spiritual progress]. It is through this that one gains guidance and support. The people of my Community should listen carefully and understand this point well that God has intended both types of ordeals for you. The first type is one relating to the practice of religious commandments, that is the Shari’a and you should endure these. The second type is the tribulation meted out by ‘fate’ that one has to suffer and bear. Most people wriggle out of some aspects of the rules of religious practice but who can run away from the decree of fate! Man has no discretion over this. Re m e m b e r, for man there is not just the world [here on earth]. There is another world after this. Life here is very brief indeed. One person may die after fifty or sixty years, another may add a further ten or twelve years to that. The troubles of this world end with death but there is no end to the other world. When the event of the Q a y a m a h, the final reckoning, is a truth and a belief in it is part of faith then what is so difficult about patiently enduring the troubles of this life that will last only for a brief period. One should make an effort for that other world which is eternal. What ‘provisions’ can a person gather [for that eternal world] if he does not face any hardship [in this world]? The distinguishing sign of a believer is that he should not only be one who shows patience but that he should go further and cheerfully accept his situation even during times of hardship. His pleasure and God’s pleasure should become as one. This state is the best. At times of trouble it is God’s pleasure that should be given priority – the Bestower of Bounties [that is God] should be 31 Patience and Steadfastness Review of Religions – June 2002 given precedence over the bounties. There are many that start complaining when they are faced with a difficulty and that is as if they break their relation- ship with God. Some women start grumbling and cursing. Some men too are weak in their faith. This is an important piece of advice and it should be remem- bered that if a person is facing difficulties he should be fearful of the possibility of an even greater hardship befalling him. This world is a place of trials and to live in it in a state of oblivion is not a good thing. Most difficulties come as a warning. In the beginning it is light in appearance and a person does not consider it to be a hardship but then it turns into a most distressing ordeal. The fact is that if someone is gently pressed with the hand, he would find this quite soothing but if the same hand is used to slap hard, it would become a source of pain. Yet another type of tribulation may become a threat to life itself. The Holy Qur’an has mentioned both types of tribulation (mild as well as s e v e r e ) . Trial and tribulation are there for the achievement of higher states. The Prophet Abraham(as) did not bemoan the fact that God had asked him for his son. Instead, he was grateful to be presented with the opportunity of serving God. The son’s mother gave her agreement and the son himself also agreed [to his own sacrifice]. It is related that once the minaret of a mosque collapsed and the King of the land fell down in prostration, thanking God, that he too had been granted the opportunity to serve the mosque that had been the noble work of his predecessors. Time passes in any case. Ultimately, even those who are used to eating delicious and well prepared food [the wealthier people] also die but he who is patient in the face of hardship finds his reward. One hundred and twenty four thousand Prophets bear witness to the fact that patience is certainly rewarded. [Malfoozat, Vol. 10, pp.86- 89] 32 Patience and Steadfastness Review of Religions – June 2002